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The Southbank Centre has announced a new public art and poetry project celebrating the invaluable contributions of key workers who have kept the country running during the COVID-19 crisis. Everyday Heroes will comprise original portraits - whether in the form of paintings, drawings, photographs and texts - reproduced as large scale posters for a dynamic display across the Southbank Centre from mid August to November 2020. The portraits are to be shown [...]
Nancy Cadogan is a British figurative painter. She was named as one of the ‘Top 20 New British Art Talents’ by Tatler magazine, describing her as ‘the new Paula Rego’ in 2008. Since then, she has been featured as one of 93 women artists to exhibit at The Ned, London, for its permanent Vault 100 exhibition. Her solo shows, Mind Zero and Footnotes (for the British Art Fair), were presented at the Saatchi Gallery in London. [...]
"Call it peace, if you like. But when I say peace I don’t mean absence of war, I mean peace, a feeling in your guts. And it’s gone for ever if the rubber-truncheon boys get hold of us." What moves us about this passage? It is not particularly difficult to know which literary world we are in, which part of history we are being exposed to, and even which author is speaking [...]
Andrés Barba’s ghostly novella Such Small Hands met with resounding critical success in its native Spain, as well as in the UK and US with English translations by Lisa Dillman, in 2017. Darkly compelling, it was lauded for its unsettling plot and baroque descriptions, blending conventions from Greek tragedy and Gothic literature [...]
With publishers big and small struggling through the current crisis, it is important for us to shine a spotlight on small presses, the work that they do and the books and authors that they publish. Recently recognised among the nine regional and country winners in the Small Press of the Year Award at the 2020 British Book Awards, today we shine the spotlight on four of the best small presses currently publishing in the UK and Ireland: Jacaranda Books, Sandstone Press, Comma Press and The Lilliput Press [...]
I set my bag down at my feet, and looked back at the way I’d come, sweating, breathing hard. The path was narrow and shaped by switchbacks that snaked up the hill. It disappeared behind a bend adorned with a clump of morning glories that made the climb look bucolic and gentle. This was a lie. They hadn’t told me about the hills, the uneven quality of the roads. They’d told me to hire a cart to bring me up to the house, but I wasn’t in the habit of ordering carts. [...]
No sooner than I started reading Wing, Matthew Francis’s latest collection of nature poems, did I want to read it out loud to the nearest person who would listen. ‘Longhouse Autumn’, the first, is a pungent broth of imagery, stuffed with suety metaphors: a remote Welsh beach is covered with ‘pick-and-mix shingle’, stippled with the ‘semolina and jam’ of pigeon droppings, concealing a ‘leathery mummified dogfish.’ [...]
Sean Bonney died in Berlin last November at the age of fifty, a couple of months after the publication of Our Death. The collection is a follow-up to his well-received Letters against the Firmament, described by Bonney, in an interview with BOMB magazine, as ‘open letters to the poetry community about the political situation in Britain’. Our Death expands on these epistolary poems: loose translations of the Greek poet Katerina Gogou appear alongside other revelatory material in both prose and verse form. The tone is bleak, drenched in premonitions of death, yet utterly gripping. [...]
Jack Solloway Sinéad Gleeson on solidarity in sickness, isolation and empathy With the UK government currently advising ‘social distancing’ and the country expecting further preventative measures against the coronavirus pandemic, Sinéad Gleeson’s debut book Constellations: Reflections from Life – a collection of essays about the body, medicine, politics and art – could not have come at a more interesting time. Shortlisted for...
What do we even want from coming of age? Do we want to be wise, mature people, or do we just care about ticking off a list of pre-agreed markers: homeowning, or a long-term relationship, or whatever it is? Ultimately, you can be a child, you can be the most immature and undeveloped human, and have achieved all those things. So obviously it’s a problematic term. Obviously, Catcher in the Rye is the ultimate touchstone for literary coming-of-age for most people [...]
Poet Imtiaz Dharker is to lead a host of writers during a day of 'non-stop emergency poetry for the planet' in February. The event, Verse Aid: Poems for the Earth, is presented by Poets for the Planet in association with The Society of Authors. Eco-themed workshops and a 'Poem-a-Thon' and will be followed by a ticketed reading in the evening...
I had made her so unhappy that she had developed a sense of humor, which she certainly didn’t have when I married her . . . This line from Bluebeard’s narrator remarks on another kind of humor, the black humor Vonnegut is best known for. Its source is helplessness and despair. He explains: Laughter or crying is what a human being does when there’s nothing else he can do [...]
Steven O'Brien Orient London - A sizzle above the rest We were off to see the vast brocade of the Wallace Collection. However, lunchtime found us in a meander across the doldrums of Leicester Square. One minute later we crossed over the imperceptible border into Chinatown. For me this is the Brigadoon of Soho; a realm I rarely visit and only...
I’ve always had reservations about reviews that liken books to film. It’s too easy to draw parallels between, say, sweeping visuals, swift or dialogue-driven narrative, and cinematic technique. I’m often left wondering how a novel – the experience of sitting down to read one – can ever really be like cinema [...]
The acclaimed French artist Cyril de Commarque has created an ambitious and powerful multimedia installation that invites us to contemplate notions of legacy and transition, now on exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. The artist’s latest project is the result of a special commission by Saatchi – for its Artist-In-Residency programme – with a brief to respond [...]
Marcel Proust and his oeuvre are at once overexposed and mysterious. Entire books and studies have explored the minute details of his personal life and literary work. There is a book about what cures and medications he took specifically for his insomnia. There is a hundred-page academic study dedicated solely to the eight-word first sentence [...]
Eric Block Interview: Nathalie Boobis, Director of Deptford X This year Deptford X, London’s longest running contemporary visual arts festival, celebrates its 21st birthday with its largest programme to date (25 October – 3 November 2019). Dynamic new director Nathalie Boobis has curated twelve major projects, five of which have been specially commissioned – including a film by by Sarah Browne,...
Chris McCabe is the National Poetry Librarian. In 2013 he was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award and his works include numerous poetry collections, including Speculatrix (2014) and The Triumph of Cancer (2018). His new poetry anthology Poems from the Edge of Extinction, published by Chambers this year, collects poems from endangered languages [...]